Ellis backs rural doctors plea for review of contract offer

15 Jul 2021 media release

Member for Narungga Fraser Ellis MP implores SA Health to properly value the crucial role rural GPs play in the sustainment of all rural towns across regional SA by reconsidering its response to new workforce contract conditions proposed by the Australian Medical Association of SA (AMA(SA)) and the Rural Doctors Association of SA (RDASA).

“This situation is completely unacceptable. The shortage of doctors is arguably the biggest issue we’re facing in rural South Australia, and governments must do everything possible to not only retain doctors and fill vacancies but attract more to the regions”, Mr Ellis said.

“It is very concerning the AMA and the RDASA have taken such a strong public stance on this issue, describing negotiations with, and the latest response received from SA Health and Rural Support Services, as unacceptable and deeply inadequate, leaving doctors feeling despair and frustration. I believe the AMA and RDASA do not use these words lightly”, Mr Ellis said.

“Without being privvy to the detail of the package of remuneration, conditions and professional development support proposed by AMA and RDASA that has been refused, continued negotiations are vital to ensure that an agreement is provided that reflects not only the in and out of hours workload of rural GPs in primary care rural general practices, our rural public hospitals and our rural emergency departments but also offers appropriate incentives to attract and retain new doctors so there is a fix in sight for the rural doctor workforce crisis SA is in”, Mr Ellis said.

“I completely agree that rural towns will wither and die without health services and rural services cannot be delivered without GPs. This fact is at the core of SA Health’s own Rural Health Workforce Strategy and appropriately features in this government’s Regional Growth strategy.

“I believe Minister Wade is doing an outstanding job but a solution to address SA’s rural doctor shortages must be found urgently”, Mr Ellis said.  

Mr Ellis will be supporting the AMA and RDASA wholeheartedly in their efforts.